Save yourself from financial heartbreak on Valentine's Day

NRF says consumers plan to spend $143

BALTIMORE, Md. - If you plan on celebrating Valentine’s Day this year, it's going to cost you. A National Retail Federation survey shows that the average consumer plans to spend around $143.

You can avoid breaking the bank and hearts by making a few simple changes. Switching the day you celebrate Valentine’s Day could save you more than $100.

“People will tie their love for somebody else with their willingness to spend money on that person,” said J.P. Krahel, assistant professor of accounting at Loyola University Maryland Sellinger School of Business.

Between the flowers, chocolate, fancy dinner reservations, and sometimes jewelry, valentines are gifted full hearts while consumers are left with empty pockets.
    
“A three-course meal that might cost you say $70 on February 15th will cost you $95 on February 14th, so if you want to save, just bump the day off a little bit. It makes the demand go a lot further down, makes the prices a lot lower as well,” Krahel said.

Same with flowers. Guaranteed delivery on Valentine’s Day costs an extra five dollars on some flower delivery sites. Forgoing a delivery service altogether can save you $15.

Or, if you opt for a beautiful assortment of lilies or daisies versus roses that's an extra $20 back in your wallet.

Also, Krahel warns consumers about advertised savings that make it look like customers are getting a good deal.

“You're going to make it up in delivery costs and if the prices spike by $40 and then you cut the price by $20, really what are we saving here?,” said Krahel.
    
Some other tips are to set a budget. Make it your goal to spend less than the average amount of $143.

Use credit card rewards or search daily deals on sites like Groupon or Living Social.

Recreate your first date. Chances are it wasn't overly expensive and it can be a romantic gesture as well as cost-effective.

“Cook dinner at home, stay in watch a movie, make your own little romantic evening, it's going to save you a lot of money,” Krahel said.

And avoid buying jewelry in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day, instead buy when there are better deals around the holidays.

Credit cards are also offering specials. Be sure to check their promotional offers.

And most importantly, if you do decide to celebrate several days late or early, make sure your partner is on-board with the plan.

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